Skipping to first grade, I only can tell you about a new girl, Carrie, who had just been introduced to our class. Curiosity and trepidation swept through the classroom when the teacher introduced Carrie to us, because half of her face was covered with heavy makeup to hide a deformity. However, my eyes were not allowed to linger on her physical face. My mind lingered on what I had heard in Sunday School, that God made all children in the image and likeness of Love, Spirit.

At recess, I introduced myself to the new girl and we played together. Our friendship continued until she was withdrawn from school and moved. I never asked her about her face.

Because memories have a way of re-writing history, I must add the following information, so as not to single myself out. I can honestly say that I do remember other classmates, also with innocence, joining Carrie and I to play, with no questions asked.

Second grade consisted of memories of falling on the pavement and scrapping my knees, bad. The teacher, Mrs. Brider, would wipe a lotion on the bleeding scrap that stung so severely it made my eyes water. The scrape didn’t even hurt until she put that lotion on it.

This is when I began making the vague conclusion that things I was learning didn’t make sense sometimes. I had a mom who insisted I wear dresses to school and a teacher who was telling me that stinging lotion was good for me. These actions and comments drummed up frustrating, not satisfying, knowledge.

Fortuitously, my 2nd grade dilemma was solved in a round-a-bout way. My mother soon had the courage to think differently from the rural populace of mothers who put their girls in dresses, and she started letting me wear pants. As a result, after my next series of run and tumble falls, I jumped up and gave no hint of a fall whatsoever, while the scrapes quietly hid and healed behind the pant leggings.

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